GOAL SCORER MARKO STAJIC JOINS EUROPEAN PROCESSION
PICTURE: Serbian White Eagles brought skilled players from Europe to launch an expansion team in the CSL in 2006, a side that played attractive football before large crowds, home and away. Dragoslav Sekularac (rear, third from right) one of Europe’s greats while playing for Red Star Belgrade 1955 – 1965 with 375 appearances and capped 41 times for Yugoslavia, was head coach.
Photo by Djuradj Vujcic
It’s not often a 19 year old enters the tough Canadian Soccer League to score 21 goals in his first season, but that’s what Marko Stajic achieved while playing for Serbian White Eagles in 2019.
Most of the goals were scored for the White Eagles reserves in the CSL Second Division where the Serbian-born striker was top scorer with 13, a tally that played an important part in his team reaching the Second Division championship final at season end. Eight were added when Stajic was playing double duty in the club’s First Division side.
Stajic grew up in Novi Sad in the northern part of Serbia in real soccer country not far from the capital Belgrade and during a brief professional career before arriving in Canada was with FOB Biograd and FK Zemun in Serbia and listed in the league’s top 10 goal scorers.
While the CSL has a storied history with a long reputation for its players going the other way to higher levels in other countries, particularly during the period 2009 to 2012 when a total 27 moved to various clubs in Europe, the league also has a strong reputation for bringing successful players, known as import players, to Canada, mostly from Europe. Add to this during the time leading up to 2012, no less than 40 CSL players were selected for various, mostly youth, national teams.
Marko Stajik, recruited by Serbian White Eagles in 2019, continued a trend set by the club since entering the CSL in 2006. At that time the White Eagles attracted much attention in the soccer community by bringing in former Yugoslavian great Dragoslav Sekularac as head coach. Seki, as he was affectionately known, was one of the top players in Europe while a star for Red Star Belgrade during the 1960s and had coached a number of high profile club teams in other countries as well as the Guatemala national team. He helped to launch the expansion team White Eagles in the CSL in front of large crowds, home and away.
The present White Eagles coach Uros Stamatovic, who made his mark in the Serbian First Division, was one of the import players to arrive in Toronto, and so was Branislav Vukomanovic from top clubs in Serbia and Montenegro, Slovakia, Romania and Bosnia-Herzegovina, defender Mirko Medic, CSL defender of the year in 2009, goalkeeper Dusan Belic, defender Radenko Kamberovic, midfielders Marko Krasic and Marko Marovic, Bozo Milic, Goran Svonja and Milan Mijailovic, just a few of a long list that that now includes a much younger Stajic.
“Marko was very impressive last season and we expect he will get even better with time. And we will continue to bring good players to Canada, making our league even more attractive and which also helps the needed development here while some of these players pass on skills to young Canadians,” said Serbian White Eagles president Dragan (Doug) Bakoc.